Old Jul 24, 2023, 3:53 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: ExpatExp
From AA's "Systemwide upgrades" page as of 24 July 2023 (edited to remove references to mileage upgrades, which are not the topic of this thread):

Enjoy a confirmed upgrade from most Business fares to First, from Premium Economy to Business, or from Economy to Premium Economy when flying transatlantic on British Airways.

Systemwide upgrades can be used for one-way travel for up to 3 flight segments on British Airways marketed and operated flights or British Airways operated flights marketed by American. At least one American marketed flight must be in the itinerary to be eligible.
.
  1. Log in to aa.com and make sure you have systemwide upgrades available in your AAdvantage account.
  2. Call your AAdvantage status service desk to confirm your upgrade. If available, the required number of upgrades will be deducted from your balance.*
  3. If an upgrade isnt available at the time of booking, you can check back with us. There is no option to waitlist for an upgrade on British Airways flights.

*Systemwide upgrades are subject to upgrade seating availability.
From AA's "AAdvantage FAQs" page as of 24 July 2023 (edited to remove references to mileage upgrades, which are not the topic of this thread):

Upgrades on British Airways and Iberia
.
  • Can I upgrade on British Airways and Iberia flights? Yes, systemwide upgrades can be used for one-way travel for up to three segments on British Airways marketed and operated flights or British Airways operated flights marketed by American.
  • Can I upgrade from a discount Main Cabin fare? Systemwide upgrades on British Airways are valid on all purchased, published fares.
  • Why is my upgrade on British Airways not valid from Economy to Business? Systemwide and mileage upgrades are valid for a one cabin upgrade. On British Airways flights that offer Premium Economy, upgrades from Economy will be to Premium Economy. On flights where British Airways doesnt offer Premium Economy, the upgrade will be to Business.
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SWU upgrades on BA are live

Old Dec 27, 2022, 2:52 am
  #76  
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Originally Posted by FLL88
How to determine inventory?
Using EF to search BA flights to use a SWU, which fare bucket should we be looking for PE to Business Class
thank you
there is none. You need to find a business award flight and that will be able to use as revenue coach ticket to apply a SWU to. Unfortunately the reward BA flight will not show up when you try to put an itinerary together.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:02 am
  #77  
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Originally Posted by enviroian
there is none. You need to find a business award flight and that will be able to use as revenue coach ticket to apply a SWU to. Unfortunately the reward BA flight will not show up when you try to put an itinerary together.
Well I'm getting conflicting info from AA twitter now on this. Background: I have a flight to LHR already booked on AA in April (SWU confirmed) but I want to change to a later flight. BA has one and showing J award availability. I asked AA to determine how much the add collect would be if any to change my flight. They say I must book into PE on BA to move to J with an SWU.


"Thanks. I thought when BA business was available as an award ticket that means an SWU can be used. What is the policy?
8:04 AM

Seen
We're sorry for the trouble with this one, for the upgrade from Business Class to First Class on the British Airways flight, we'd need inventory Z, however, only inventory P appears available on this flight at the moment.
8:30 AM

Sorry perhaps you misunderstood. I want to use a SWU to upgrade from coach to business. I was told when a BA business reward ticket is available then also I can buy the ticket in coach instead and apply the SWU to upgrade to business. I did this in November.
8:51 AM

Thank you for the clarification! In this instance, we'll need to rebook you in Premium Economy in (W Class) on BA prime flight, then confirm the Systemwide upgrade switch to Business Class on the later flight departing from DFW-LHR. To make the switch to Premium Economy, there'll be a fare difference of $300.20. Once agreed, we'll reissue the tickets and process the upgrades for you.
9:40 AM

Thanks for getting back to me but that's not correct. One does not need to buy a PE ticket to upgrade into BA J.
9:56 AM

Sent
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:17 am
  #78  
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Now this from AA twitter:

If this is true the SWU benefit on BA is now meaningless and moot.

"British Airways only offers single cabin upgrades. In order to upgrade to Business Class, you must buy a Premium Economy ticket, which is the difference calculated."
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Well I'm getting conflicting info from AA twitter now on this. Background: I have a flight to LHR already booked on AA in April (SWU confirmed) but I want to change to a later flight. BA has one and showing J award availability. I asked AA to determine how much the add collect would be if any to change my flight. They say I must book into PE on BA to move to J with an SWU.

Thanks for getting back to me but that's not correct. One does not need to buy a PE ticket to upgrade into BA J.
9:56 AM
The agent is correct. While on AA metal you can use SWUs to go from Y (even basic economy) directly to J, when using the SWU on BA, the upgrade is only one class. So to upgrade to J, you need to have purchased a PE ticket.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by DMPHL
The agent is correct. While on AA metal you can use SWUs to go from Y (even basic economy) directly to J, when using the SWU on BA, the upgrade is only one class. So to upgrade to J, you need to have purchased a PE ticket.
In November I bought a Y BA ticket that had J reward availability. I was confirmed right into business. So youre saying this was not SOP? If this is the case there is no reciprocal benefit.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:41 am
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Very welcome news! I'm flying RNO-ORD or DFW-LHR-IST in May. Either way the TATL leg is on the A380, which I know has lackluster J cabins. Is the delta greater between PE and J or between J and F on the big bird? The cash difference between PE and J is less than $1000 so figured booking J makes sense and hoping for F upgrade availability.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
In November I bought a Y BA ticket that had J reward availability. I was confirmed right into business. So youre saying this was not SOP? If this is the case there is no reciprocal benefit.
Yeah I think they erroneously launched it without controls to prevent a direct Y-to-J upgrade, but it is indeed supposed to be only Y to PE, or PE to J, or J to F, same as on BA using Avios.

Sounds like they have identified the problem and "fixed" it (or are in the process of doing so). Still nice to be able to use AA SWUs to go from J to F on BA, though I can't imagine ever burning one to go Y to PE and I can't imagine buying PE to go on the crBApy product that is BA J.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 9:54 am
  #83  
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What’s the typical price delta from Y to PE? Looks I got lucky in November. Oh well.

Let’s hope to God AA doesn’t get any ideas here….
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 11:50 am
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is it true that at least one segment needs to be on AA for a SWU to apply? And if so, will a AS flight booked through AA qualify?
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy
Yeah I think they erroneously launched it without controls to prevent a direct Y-to-J upgrade, but it is indeed supposed to be only Y to PE, or PE to J, or J to F, same as on BA using Avios.

Sounds like they have identified the problem and "fixed" it (or are in the process of doing so). Still nice to be able to use AA SWUs to go from J to F on BA, though I can't imagine ever burning one to go Y to PE and I can't imagine buying PE to go on the crBApy product that is BA J.
The PE to J makes sense in a 4 or 3 class cabin with PE.

In intra Europe flights, it's either Y or J.
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
What’s the typical price delta from Y to PE? Looks I got lucky in November. Oh well.

Let’s hope to God AA doesn’t get any ideas here….
Variable. $300 isn't a terrible "co-pay" if J is at least confirmable but it can be more than that...

And big +1 to AA not getting any ideas... Sadly they will probably say in a year "We see that our customers love using SWUs to go from Y to PE on BA, so we're now offering the same on AA" or some BS when they take away Y to J upgrades.

Originally Posted by tfizzle
is it true that at least one segment needs to be on AA for a SWU to apply? And if so, will a AS flight booked through AA qualify?
At least one segment needs to be marketed by AA, so it can be a full BA itinerary with AA flight numbers. The letter of the rule does not prohibit having an AS flight with AA flight number count as that segment, but it shouldn't work if you have only AS and BA prime flight numbers. I also don't think this was fully enforced at the outset when SWUs went live on BA, so YMMV. The fact that the itinerary was booked through AA should help...
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by tfizzle
is it true that at least one segment needs to be on AA for a SWU to apply? And if so, will a AS flight booked through AA qualify?
If by "one segment needs to be on AA for a SWU to apply" you mean 'AA metal' then the answer is no (or at least not for the one time I've done this on singular nonstop BA flights from US to LHR...)
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Old Dec 29, 2022, 3:25 pm
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These are the official rules:
On British Airways
Enjoy a confirmed upgrade from most Business fares to First, from Premium Economy to Business, or from Economy to Premium Economy when flying transatlantic on British Airways.
Systemwide upgrades can be used for one-way travel for up to 3 flight segments on British Airways marketed and operated flights or British Airways operated flights marketed by American. At least one American marketed flight must be in the itinerary to be eligible.
There are several reports, including recent ones, of AA overlooking the first rule and confirming upgrades from Y to J on 4-class BA flights. YMMV, however, I wouldn’t expect this to last. I’d guess AA is working on system controls and training to prevent this.
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Fanjet
So, using these does not require a fuel surcharge differential? IIRC, BAEC members who use miles or certificates to upgrade into a higher cabin have to pay the difference in the fuel surcharge between those corresponding cabins.(I.e. If someone upgrades from W to J, there is a charge for the difference between the fuel surcharge in J versus the fuel surcharge in W, which was originally paid for at ticket purchase).
Is there a confirmed answer to this? If I were to use an SWU to upgrade from W to J on a BA-operated TATL flight, would I get hit with the additional fees/surcharges that you see with award tickets in J and mileage upgrades to J?
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by UncleLeo
Is there a confirmed answer to this? If I were to use an SWU to upgrade from W to J on a BA-operated TATL flight, would I get hit with the additional fees/surcharges that you see with award tickets in J and mileage upgrades to J?
Yes, when you upgrade a BA flight with a SWU you do not pay the fuel surcharges that come with an award ticket on BA.

Because you have already purchased a ticket and are upgrading, the carrier imposed fees have already been included in the fare you paid. So if you had to pay those with a SWU upgrade you'd essentially be paying the carrier imposed fees twice.
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